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New Kindle eBook from Jeff Burk

From the same author that brought you SHATNERQUAKE, SUPER GIANT MONSTER TIME, CRIPPLE WOLF, and SHATNERQUEST comes…

promo chapbook coverJeff Burk is the cult favorite author of several books including SHATNERQUAKE and CRIPPLE WOLF. He is also one of the most original, ridiculous, and nerdy voices in the bizarro genre. B-MOVIES AND BEER RUINED MY LIFE! contains six short stories and two non-fiction pieces by Jeff Burk. From the filming of a hentai where a monster can’t get it’s tentacles up to a house made literally of cats, this collection shows why Wil Wheaton described his writing as “Lloyd Kaufman and Sam Raimi’s mutant offspring,”

This ebook also contains two non-fiction essays. One about his worst reading ever where someone called the cops and an essay on loving extreme horror.

This collection contains:
I’VE SEEN ENOUGH HENTAI TO KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING…
THE DOG WHO STARED
HOUSE OF CATS
FROSTY AND THE FULL MONTY
THE MOST ACCOMPLISHED CRACK HEAD IN THE WORLD
PUNK ROCK NURSING HOME
WHEN THE COPS CAME FOR SHATNER OR MY WORST READING EVER
YOU SICK FUCK OR WHY I LOVE EXTREME HORROR

Available only on Kindle

The Tea House: Cross Training

Today is brought to you by a San Francisco French Roast, with milk and sugar.
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One of the remarkable things about being human is our innate need to create. Whether it’s dinner or a song or a flower garden or a method for more effectively driving to work or a screenplay or a house, people are constantly creating things. Though creativity is part of being human, artists are particularly aware of their creativity and how valuable it is. We may also be more aware that creativity is a muscle that can be enhanced.

There’s a variety of ways to build your creativity muscle. Today, we’re going to talk about cross training.

In athletics, there’s the concept of cross training. Cross training is engaging is sports or physical activities in addition to one’s primary sport. So, for example, a runner may also lift weights and swim or bike. A soccer player may run. This cross training enhances the athlete’s performance in their primary sport by building the athlete’s skills in other physical areas not necessarily covered by her primary sport.

Artists can also benefit from cross training. In fact, though they may not be famous for it, a variety of artists have cross trained: Marilyn Monroe was a poet, William Faulkner, Zelda Fitzgerald, John Lennon and Miles Davis were visual artists, J. R. R. Tolkien wrote and illustrated a children’s book, Flannery O’Connor was a cartoonist. David Bowie is a visual artist. Jarvis Cocker is a filmmaker.

And, of course, there’s Bizarro’s own Carlton Mellick, who is a visual artist and writer (and he was even once in a band), Andrew Goldfarb, musician, visual artist and writer, and John Skipp, writer, filmmaker and musician. Then there’s Michael Allen Rose who does just about everything. And you know I could go on.

So, here’s the question: Are you an artist who engages in a variety of art? Do you write poetry and make gourmet meals? Do you play guitar and build ornate dinosaur models? Are you a dancer and an illustrator? Or do you cross train in your own discipline? Do you write short stories and a poet? Are you a novelist and essayist? How do your artistic pursuits fuel and support each other?

Or are you someone who has stuck to one type of art? Have you considered cross training as a way to expand your creativity and fuel your primary art?
_______________________
Spike Marlowe has held a number of odd jobs, including working in a wild west show, as a detective, as a Bigfoot researcher, as a writer for an Internet content farm and as a busker. These days she’s a writer, blogger and bizarro editor for Eraserhead Press, with a focus on the New Bizarro Author Series. Her first book, Placenta of Love, is now available at all the usual locations. You can stalk her online at her website, Facebook or on Twitter at @spikemarlowe.

Dilation Exercise 101

Below you’ll find Alan M. Clark’s weekly Dilation Exercise. Please look at the picture, read the caption, above and below the image, and allow your imagination to go to work on it. If the artwork inspires an idea, please use the comment feature to tell us something about it. Need a further explanation? Go to Imagination Workout—The Dilation Exercises.

When the animals finally banded together and decided to take the world back, the celebration lasted for many days.

Since humans generally didn’t believe they were animals, most people merely stood on the periphery watching, having no inkling of what it all meant and how their lives had been irrevocably altered.

—Alan M. Clark
Eugene, Oregon

If you like Alan M. Clark’s artwork, please try his writing in both short fiction and novels.

Artwork: Detail from “Animal Rite” copyright © 1980 Alan M. Clark. Unpublished.

Flash Fiction Friday: The Sexy Cortical

by Andy de Fonseca

It took several seconds for his eyes to adjust to the dim, reddish light that pulsated through the mixture of cigarette smoke and dry-ice mist wafting throughout the room. In the absence of one large stage there were several cages placed about; chairs circled them, occupied by bald men in deep red robes. The pumping music he could feel vibrating all the way into his large intestine not only discouraged conversation, but drowned out the self-loathing.

The old man searched among the throng of identical looking patrons but easily found him. No hair. Red robes. A perfect match. The young man was intently watching the caged dancer, who was no taller than a few inches. Her enormous hands, many times the size of her miniscule body, were as big as her cherry lips, both of which she used sublimely in her dance of seduction. She twirled her fingers, playing with them as a dancer would use large, feather fans to hide herself and toy with the audience. The other cages were occupied by similar dancers: all miniature, each with their own bulbous attribute and special way to use them.

“Ah, the homunculi,” the old monk sighed, causing the young man to jump in his chair.

“Fuck. Hi, lama.”

The old voice refused to fight with the blaring booty-humping lyrics, and instead cut cleanly through to the intended listener. “Chyogam, you sign up for lessons today. Your mind should be clear, pure.”

“Yeah. About that. Celibacy just isn’t my…” his voice trailed off as another homunculus joined the cage. This one, just as short as the other, immediately flopped on her back and put her colossal feet in the air, beckoning the watchers with each carefully painted toe. “Come on, baby, show me your motor cortex.”

“Chyogam.”

The young monk tore his eyes away once more. “I have nothing to offer the world. My path to Enlightenment would be selfish.”

“Not everyone is a Mahayanist; it takes great control and discipline to venerate the mighty bodhisattvas. You would take the path of the Hinayanist. Though an inferior vehicle down the path to Enlightenment, it is still a vehicle.”

“Your car isn’t that great, I don’t know why you keep bragging about it.”

A deep breath from the old monk. “You can still find a way down the Mahayana path. Simply find that connection to humanity that drives you.” He puffed his chest. “And the Prius is a fantastic car.”

The chiming of bells sent the room full of monks into hoots and hollers and cat calls. A unified chant grew from them as they banged on the tables for rhythm. Spotlights weaved around the room, building tension.

“COR-TI-CAL! COR-TI-CAL! COR-TI-CAL!”

The lights stopped on the center cage. Inside, a cluster of peacock feathers, slightly quivering, covered the main event. The monks silenced, with the exception of the occasional ‘WHOOT!’.

A slow, soft, deep rhythm began to pump. The mass of feathers began to gyrate with it. Dipping low, swaying side to side, thrusting at just the right times. Then, one by one, disfigured fingers popped out from beneath the feathers, each one sending cheers through the crowd. A feather flicked away, revealing an enormous blue eye, the long, thick, black lashes batting slowly. At the top of the mass of feathers, a foot poked through, twisting to show off every silken, glistening curve. Another feather was moved, and out protruded lips large enough to lie on; the bright red gloss could have stopped traffic. A pink tongue grazed the plump, moistened puckers, licking the entire rim of the mouth, which was formed into a perfect ‘O’.

With a loud burst of throbbing music, the rest of the peacock feathers flew off, revealing the distorted burlesque queen in all her disfigured beauty, a living sensory map erotically swaying and thrusting in perfect harmony to the music and erupting shouts from the aroused audience.

“Lady Cortical Homunculus…” the young monk exhaled. “A perfect representation of the body within the brain.” He shivered.

The old monk placed a hand on Chyogam’s shoulder. “It is time.”

Chyogam reeled back upon stepping outside, the blinding sun burned into his retinas.

“Hurry. Or we will be late.”

Chyogam took a longing glance back at the windowless building before getting into the Prius.

——

Andy de Fonseca is a geek. She has always been this way, despite numerous attempts throughout childhood to curb her love of anime, video games, dragons, and the unholy songs of science. For the month of April, royalties for The Cheat Code for God Mode will be donated to Ride for MS and The New York Stem Cell Foundation. If you haven’t picked up your copy of The Cheat Code yet, now is a great time!

Show Me Your Shelves: Josh Myers

Josh Myers is a cool guy who likes to read and write books, so we got along from the start. After reading Feast of Oblivion, published by Copeland Valley Press in 2012, I wanted more of his fiction. He said he was working on something. That was good…for a while. Then I got impatient and started pestering him about it. In retaliation, he took his sweet time. Whatever. The point is that GUNS is almost here, and talking about it was the perfect opportunity to also ask Josh to show us his shelves. Dig it.

Who are you and what role do books play in your life?

I’m Josh, a guy from New Jersey who occasionally writes a book or two.

I love books to pieces. When I was young, my parents always encouraged me to read, no matter how weird the books were that I was drawn to. In grade school, my first few teachers had a deep love of books, and they really helped to instill that in me early on. And having become friends with a bunch of really talented writers over these past few years, man…it’s just the best. These are all people who share that deep, deep love of books. When I meet up with most of my friends, one of the first questions asked is, “So what have you been reading?”
There’s just something so great about a book that you can’t get from any other medium. I mean, I love movies and a fair amount of TV, but give me a book any day. I’m literally surrounded by them. There are books on all four walls of my room, and they bleed out into the rest of the house. Sometimes I worry about the shelves over my bed giving way and burying me under books, but in the grand scheme of things…is it really such a bad way to go?
[Flash forward to 2022: Josh Myers dies under a pile of books, last words reported to be, “Oh jeez, I was wrong, this blows.”]

If you had to get a tattoo of a cover, what cover would it be and why?

You mean besides this one?

I got this for a few reasons. One is obviously because I’m a big fan of Andersen Prunty. He’s one of my favorite writers, and a damn nice guy. But I also just really love that design. Brandon Duncan an insanely talented dude, and he absolutely killed it with the FUCKNESS cover. And it sort of speaks to my own slightly skewed sense of patriotism.

But back to the question.
Right off the top of my head, probably Matthew Revert’s HOW TO AVOID SEX. The book is so damn impressive, and I love that image on the cover. Plus, I imagine it would translate really well as a tattoo. So well, in fact, that it might end up happening sometime.
And I don’t think I need to tell anybody at this point what an incredible designer Matt is. His covers always blow me away. But his writing, too, is just extraordinary. I think a lot of people overlook that because of his stellar design work. I really believe the guy is one of the best writers going, though. I mean, have you read BASAL GANGLIA?
(Side note: I actually do plan on getting a tattoo of an image from Matt’s novel, THE TUMOURS MADE ME INTERESTING pretty soon.)

Desert island cliché question: you can only take ten books. Go.

That’s not fair and you know it.
I’m sure that five minutes after I send this I’ll think, “Oh nuts, I really should’ve included THIS, or THAT,” but as of right now (4:03 pm EST, 4/5/14), my desert island books are as follows:

CATCH-22 – Joseph Heller: I don’t think I can say anything about this that hasn’t already been said much better by someone else. One of my all-time favorites.

BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS – Kurt Vonnegut: As the asterisk tattoo on my arm will attest, I’m a pretty big fan of Vonnegut. It’s hard to pick just one of his books, but I think the overall madcap spirit of this one might just be my favorite. Then again, talk to me tomorrow and I’ll probably tell you CAT’S CRADLE.

BASAL GANGLIA – Matthew Revert: Buy. This. Book. Crushingly gorgeous stuff. One of the best I’ve read in years. I feel like it’s a book I’ll end up reading quite a few times throughout my life.

THE COMPLETE STORIES – Flannery O’Connor: Do I really need to explain this? O’Connor was, as far as I’m concerned, one of the most brilliant writers to have ever lived. And while I was tempted to pick WISE BLOOD, this is 550 pages worth of her genius.

ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE – Benjamin Alire Sáenz: I enjoy a lot of Young Adult fiction, and I enjoy a lot of so-called “queer” fiction, so when one of my best friends recommended this, I bought it the next day. It’s an incredibly beautiful book. I can’t sing its praises enough.

THE DOOM MAGNETIC! TRILOGY – William Pauley III: Because sometimes you just need some good old-fashioned out-and-out weird action fun. Plus, it’s three books in one, so, technically, I WIN.

BLEEDING SHADOWS – Joe R. Lansdale: To be honest, I haven’t actually read this yet. But I’m a huge fan of Lansdale, and this is nearly 500 pages of stories and novellas. Should keep me grinning for a while.

LYNCH ON LYNCH – ed. Chris Rodley: If I can’t watch any David Lynch movies on this desert island, at least I can re-read this and get glimpses into the man’s brain.

ELMER GANTRY – Sinclair Lewis: Opening lines: “Elmer Gantry was drunk. He was eloquently drunk, lovingly and pugnaciously drunk.” Total genius, and criminally underrated.

ROLE MODELS – John Waters: Maybe my favorite ever non-fiction book. Even if you don’t like his films (and boy oh boy, I DO), you can’t help loving John Waters. He’s a true inspiration. A saint for all the outsiders and minorities of minorities. This book could very well be my bible.

Are you answering this interview drunk? What role do you think boozing has played in your career?

I wasn’t when I started.

and

Not much until recently. With the next book I’m working on, I started taking a notebook to my favorite bar (Triumph Brewing Company in New Hope, PA) and jotting down notes while drinking beer. It’s surprisingly effective. It’s also a really good excuse to go drink.
Actually, wait.
Yeah, no, I’m wrong.
And maybe drunk.
Okay, so I live next to my grandparents, and most afternoons I go have a beer or two in the garage with my grandfather. During the writing of GUNS, starting in the very early stages, I would get ideas from the stories he would tell me from his youth (Catholic school, crazy relatives, etc) while we were having beers and shooting the shit. This was back when GUNS was still really rough ideas. From drinking with my grandfather, I got a character I really love, and a bunch of other things I can’t talk about without spoiling.
So I guess boozing HAS had a role in my “career” already.
Thanks, beer!

Your next book took a while. Why did you make us wait so long? What were you reading while you wrote it? Do you hate us?

I made you wait because I like to feel important.
No, that’s not the case at all. I’m just a really slow writer. My work ethic when it comes to writing is pretty awful. And I wasn’t really used to writing something as straightforward as this story had to be, so there was a frequent feeling of “this isn’t working”. I very nearly gave up a few times. For a while I was pretty much resigned to the fact that the book wouldn’t be done until 2015. If not for the fact that Justin was already working on the art at that point, and if it weren’t for the group of friends who have been supporting me, this book definitely wouldn’t be finished right now. Hell, it probably would’ve been totally abandoned and I’d be drinking myself into oblivion.
But thanks to those people, what I have now is a book I am incredibly proud of. A book that I can shake in peoples’ faces while I drink myself into oblivion.

I was reading a lot of crime fiction while I wrote this one. Not exclusively, not by a long shot. But as it’s a crime story, it felt appropriate. Although I love crime fiction anyway, so I probably would’ve been reading the same things regardless.
As far as crime, I know I went through a ton of Ken Bruen and obviously Lansdale, some Richard Stark, Jim Thompson, Duane Swierczynski (a huge influence), Wallace Stroby, George V. Higgins, a few Hard Case Crime books, a touch of Derek Raymond, and James Sallis.
Beyond that, I was honestly reading quite a bit of YA. So maybe that odd dichotomy shows up in the book. Or maybe I’m drunk.

Yes I do.

In 3k words or less, answer the following question: why should we go out and buy GUNS?

Because Justin Coons and I have put in a whole lot of effort over the last year and a half to make this thing the best it can be.
Because it’s loaded with violence and vengeance.
Because Justin’s artwork is goddamn beautiful.
Because Matthew Revert’s cover design makes me so happy I could kiss him, but he’s in Australia and my lips don’t reach that far.
Because there are written extras by Matt, Justin, William Pauley III, and my awesome friend Kerry Cullen, who happens to be a really brilliant writer herself.
Because Chuck Copeland will give me a stern talking to if it doesn’t sell as many copies as he has determined it should sell. He won’t tell me how many that is, but I assume it’s over eight and less than twenty-two.
Because it’s a thinly-veiled tribute to my ailing hero, Tim Smith, and the music he made with his beautiful band, Cardiacs. Tim’s a lovely person who made lovely music and I wanted to thank him for that.
Because I got a tattoo of an image from the book and I’ll feel pretty dumb if nobody buys it.
Because books are made to be read, and with all the other options out there, it would put a big ol’ smile on my face to know that somebody read mine.
Thank you.

Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of Gutmouth and a few other things no one will ever read. You can find him on Twitter at @Gabino_Iglesias

New Bizarro Author Series Review #30: The Church of TV as God by Daniel Vlasaty

by J.W. Wargo

Id Says:
HOOOOLLLLLLYYYYYY EMERGENCY BROADCASTING SYSTEM!!!! Everyone knows TV addicts are out there, but fucking television cultists praying in a house of screens? And now their zealous boobtube leader thinks he’s found their savior. Oh, great are the cable channel deity motherfuckers!

This cathode-ray of sunshine doesn’t know why his head is turning into a TV, he just knows it runs in the family. Working the night shift as security at his local cemetery probably helps keep the looky-loos to a minimum. His graveyard is pretty progressive, even has a plot specifically for appliances. Sometimes he wonders which section he’ll be buried in.

His stray dog roommate could give a shit, so long as the bologna keeps flowing and he doesn’t hear the dreaded “O” word coming from the dude’s mouth, that racist prick!
It’s only a matter of time before this bastard primetime preacher tracks this TV messiah down and forces him to help bring about the second coming of the Great TV in the Sky. Static be praised!

Ego Says:

Jeremy is not a willing participant in this Second Coming, I would say. Though on some level he probably sees a rational side to the Church’s prophecy, I mean he is inexplicably turning into an bonafide, wood paneled, knob turning, old school styled television set, he still rejects the actions taken by the Church and their leader to make the prophecy a reality.

I will say, as well, that as far as Cult leaders go, the man in white is on the saner side of things. He claims direct contact and communication from the Great TV, and Jeremy’s existence appears to corroborate this, enough for his congregation to believe him without question.

I would think the only possible exception to being totally committed to the Great TV’s will could be Randall, though this is due to his dim-wittedness rather than any doubt, self or otherwise. He is the older brother of the man in white and someone I thought was underused in this story. I say this because there were moments when his role could have been better characterized, but he was left more or less one dimensional in his part.

A much more fully developed character, and my favorite one in this book, was that of Benjamin, the stray dog nearly run over by Jeremy who becomes his friend and new roommate. Benjamin is a talking dog, and his profanity spewing mouth is put to great use throughout the story, bringing humorous elements to even the most disturbing of scenes.

Super-Ego Says:
To my mind, the title of Mr. Vlasaty’s debut book is one of the more intriguing phrases I have heard in some time. A simple premise, God is Television, and this is the Church of that ideal. And you can be assured there is no lack of televisions in this story. The church itself is made of TVs, the walls made up in stacks of light boxes, the altar a giant flatscreen, and the chairs each church member sits upon glow bright with a multitude of moving images.

And while the imagery is as expected, the result of such an idea is probably the strongest point of the book. Religion can be an addiction, and faith can be placed on most anything. When you think of the masses huddled around their screens every Sunday for the big game, is it really that hard to imagine a religious faith building up around it?

In fact, no matter how bizarre the actions of the congregation become in trying to bring about the physical realization of their God, it never becomes discreditably ludicrous. One may even grow a rational fear in pondering this, and the author may start to look more like a prophet than a fiction storyteller.

————-

Enjoy the review? Pick up a copy of the book at Amazon!

J.W. Wargo is a writer and author of his own NBAS book, Avoiding Mortimer, which deals with the difficult subjects of suicide, the afterlife, and proper mixtape gifting etiquette. You can also read about the crazy shit he gets into while hitchhiking the world over at Imperial Youth Review.

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